Obama campaign: Why doesn't Romney push back against Trump ‘birther’ questions?
Mitt Romney, the likely GOP presidential nominee, arrives Tuesday in Las Vegas, where he will attend a fund-raiser hosted by Donald Trump. Trump's plane stands in the background.
May 29th, 2012
06:28 AM ET
3 years ago

Obama campaign: Why doesn't Romney push back against Trump ‘birther’ questions?

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's campaign is highlighting what they call Mitt Romney's "refusal" to condemn Donald Trump's continued highlighting of the "birther" conspiracy.

The release of a new video by the president's re-election team Tuesday morning comes a few hours after Romney appeared to downplay Trump's comments, and a few hours before Romney teams up with Trump at the business magnate and reality TV star's hotel in Las Vegas for a fundraiser for the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Asked on his charter plane Monday night whether Trump's questioning of Obama's birthplace gave him pause, Romney said he was grateful for all his supporters.

"You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don't all agree with everything I believe in," Romney said. "But I need to get 50.1% or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people."

Romney has said in the past that he firmly believes Obama was born in Hawaii, and is thus constitutionally eligible to be president.

Trump, however, is decidedly less sure. The "Apprentice" host has been a vocal proponent of the "birther" conspiracy going back several years. And early last year, as Trump flirted with his own bid for the Republican presidential nomination, he claimed he had "investigators" looking into Obama's records in Hawaii. The president released the long-form version of his birth certificate in April 2011, showing he was born in Hawaii on August 4, 1961. Soon after it was released, Trump announced he would not make a bid for the GOP nomination.

The new video by the Obama campaign contrasts Romney with Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the last Republican presidential nominee. The video starts by saying "As Republican nominee, John McCain stood up to the voices of extremism in his party."

Then McCain is seen in clips from the 2008 presidential campaign pushing back against supporters’ claims that Obama wasn't an American. In one of the clips, a woman speaking to McCain at a campaign event says, "I have read about him, he's an Arab.” McCain shakes his head and responds "No ma’am, no ma’am. He's a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with."

The video then asks, "Why won't Mitt Romney do the same" and proceeds to highlight clips of Trump over the past year questioning whether the president was born in the United States.

Trump will join Romney and former presidential candidate Newt Gingrich for a campaign fund-raiser in Las Vegas on Tuesday evening. Romney's campaign is also raffling a chance to have dinner with the celebrity businessman for supporters who donate $3 to the campaign.

"I want you: Dine with the Donald," a campaign flier proclaims, along with a drawing of Trump in the pose of Uncle Sam.

Trump once again raised questions about Obama's birthplace last week, including in an interview published Friday with The Daily Beast.

"Look, it's very simple," Trump said in the interview. "A book publisher came out three days ago and said that in his written synopsis of his book."

The interview continued, "He said he was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. His mother never spent a day in the hospital."

Trump was referring to a literary agency that, in a promotional catalogue from the 1990s, listed Obama has having been born in Kenya. An employee of the agency recently acknowledged that it was her mistake.

But Trump isn't buying it.

"Now they're saying it was a mistake," he told the Daily Beast. "Just like his Kenyan grandmother said he was born in Kenya, and she pointed down the road to the hospital, and after people started screaming at her she said, 'Oh, I mean Hawaii.' Give me a break."

– CNN's Rachel Streitfeld, Kevin Liptak, Paul Steinhauser and Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

Also see:

Romney likely to hit 'magic number' on Tuesday

Texas gears up for Lone Star primary

Romney doesn't back away from 'birther' Trump


Filed under: 2012 • Birthers • Donald Trump • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (515 Responses)
  1. Laura

    This is not surprising since Romney is totally lacking in character. He will do or say anything and align himself with ANYONE who he thinks will help him win in November.

    Next up Fred Phelps and that Worley guy from NC to secure the hatemonger vote.

    May 29, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. Domenic

    Have you ever noticed that people who tend toward dishonesty and slick dealing always approach the world as though every one else is that way. That's Donald Trump. If you have a loose appreciation for honesty, you are going to assume that every one else functions the same way. Trump is THE poster boy for why America is rotting from the inside. Insatiable greed, shameless self promotion, value system based on material worth ... Romney should be deeply ashamed for associating with Trump in any way.

    May 29, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  3. Anonymous

    Article published by the New York Times when Barack Obama became president of the Harvard Law Review:

    The new president of the [Harvard Law] Review is Barack Obama, a 28-year-old graduate of Columbia University who spent four years heading a community development program for poor blacks on Chicago’s South Side before enrolling in law school. His late father, Barack Obama, was a finance minister in Kenya and his mother, Ann Dunham, is an American anthropologist now doing fieldwork in Indonesia. Mr. Obama was born in Hawaii.

    The PR bio you reference was published in 1991. So, in your alternate universe, Sue ... Obama told the New York Times in 1990 that he was born in Hawaii, then a year later he "wrote his own bio" for his publisher in which he said that he was "born in Kenya", completely obivious to the fact that he had himself stated in the actual published book that he was born in Hawaii. Yeah. That'll work, huh?

    His publicist has already gone on record admitting the error, admitting that is was she who wrote the bio without Obama's input or approval.

    Furthermore, I sincerly doubt the book would have sold more copies authored by a Keyan born vs an American born author.

    May 29, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  4. enough already

    Why doesn't the media have the guts to ask why a bio would have such obviously incorrect information on the president's literary agent's website for 17 years before it's corrected? I don't believe for a moment that Obama was not aware that the bio was published with the information that it contained.

    I think this a significant question that strikes to the honesty of the president.

    May 29, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  5. Natalie in MN

    Gee, could it be that he actually is a panderer to anyone who'd support him? Most of us have figured that out already....months and months ago.

    May 29, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. ron reed

    birther issue will not die because you in the liberal media wont let it. obama has nothing positive to talk about what he has done for our country so you keep small, negative issues in front

    May 29, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  7. ChiefGunner

    Why should Romney respond at all? He has no control over what a PAC does (that is the law) and there are real issues to discuss. This is just the Obama Administration and the DNC trying desperately to talk about anything other than the steaming pile of fail that is this administration.

    May 29, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  8. OGR99

    Let's see-

    You Libbies tried the Church Angle, the Dog Angle, the Bain Angle, the Stay at Home Mom Angle....

    How 'bout the Economy Angle? Woops! Never mind.

    May 29, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  9. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney doesn't want to lose the support of right wing extremists, conspiracy theorists, bigots, red necks, and Limbaugh supporters in the GOP/Tea Party.

    May 29, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  10. FlotsamJetsam

    This birther issue just makes the Republicans look like idiots. This will backfire. Mitt has to stop this since there is already a joke campaign among some elements of the Obama supporters to question whether he only has one wife since he is a Mormon.

    May 29, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. Batman

    You know the obama campaign and hopes for re-election is in serious trouble if they're using cr@p like this rather than running on their accomplishments over the last 3+ years.

    May 29, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Marie MD

    The bishop from planet Kola has no ethics or morals. He will sell his bishop soul to the highest bidder!

    May 29, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Independent Voters

    I wonder why Trump have not ask Romney birth certificate. I think race play part of Trump ignorance towards president Obama birth certificate. Romney is awful to hang with Trump.

    May 29, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  14. hoop

    Apparently Trump isn't capable of addressing the real issues that face this country and what a GOP candidate would do to solve them. Or, he has a low opinion of the voters and thinks this birther drivel is all we can understand. Sadly, he may be correct in many cases.

    May 29, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. pssttcmere

    And the liberal donkeys run rampant on this page....AGAIN. Anytime anything about obama is questioned, it is wailing and gnashing of teeth time. When you try to hide things, people have a tendency to believe something is very wrong. obama has had the luxury of not-so-thorough vetting and the lame stream media glossing over any stories that do not put him in a good light. I would venture to say that there is not ONE politician on either side of the aisle who doesn't try to sugarcoat things; so lets be honest. The rules must be the same for EVERYONE across the board, what's good for the goose is good for the gander, etc. Add the lazy electorate who doesn't bother to research facts and lives strictly by the soundbite and we are destined to have more lackluster pols who hold our future in their hands...a very scary thought.

    May 29, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. wm Scot

    As long as the press keeps giveing this airtime it will be a converstion !

    May 29, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. A True Centrist

    Why is this a story? Trump is crazy, he's not running for any office...so where is the story?

    Obama lied to get himself a book deal and said he was born in Kenya. I do think lying on your resume is a big deal, people in the real world get fired for doing that (see FORMER Yahoo CEO). It seems to be a common theme amongst Dem candidates this year (see Elizabeth Warren), and those are issues that should be investigated. But to keep up this birther nonsense is a waste of time and a distraction for both candidates.

    May 29, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. garc

    The romney ad asks, "what would a romney presidency be like?" Well, "there's your sign."

    May 29, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. Rosslaw

    Mittens is a political coward too gutless to take McCain's stand and push back against the flat-earth segment of his party. His secret underwear must have stopped the blood flow to his cojones.

    May 29, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  20. Phil

    Who cares????Why doesn't the President push back against his parties negative comments about Romey and Bain Capital???Because they are trying to decieve the public and are liars.

    May 29, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. DC Johnny

    It's not news that Obama sat in a church listening to anti-American hate speech without repudiation. It's not news that Obama kicked off his political career from the home of an unrepentant domestic terrorist.

    But let's revisit the birther issue over and over again, somehow at the expense of Mitt Romney. That makes more sense.

    Let's not dig deeper into the very possible conspiracy that Obama's Harvard records are under lockdown because they will clearly show his receiving preferential treatment by way of being of Kenyan descent or birth. There's no story there.

    May 29, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  22. joe

    Will we get to see any college work Obama supposedly did? It doesn't matter. From Barry's record alone we know even if born in Hawaii he is not an American at heart and couldn't even run a Dairy Queen – part time. Would probably get fired if he just worked at one. Bye Barry

    May 29, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Sam J

    Rmoney is too busy making a case for Iraq having WMD's. He wants to invade Iraq and pay for the war by cutting taxes. In other news, the number-one film in America is "Nightmare"!

    May 29, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. ezduzit757

    @Lynda/Minnesota – Well said!

    May 29, 2012 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  25. tom

    Because Romney doesn't have an original thought in his well coiffed head. He waits for someone to tell him what to say..that is what he thinks people want to hear him say....sounds a lot like Dumbo Dubya, doesn;t it? He says and does whatever the
    'donors' tell him to.

    May 29, 2012 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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